Monday, April 11, 2011

Ink Technology Has come to be Much More complicated Since the Early Days of Printing

The ink used in printers and copiers is a complicated mix of ingredients that is a long way from the primary constituents used when humans first put pen, or quill, to parchment or paper.

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Historically there were two main types of ink. Carbon based ink was industrialized by the ancient Egyptians and the Chinese colse to 2500 Bc and was normally made from lampblack or soot and a binding agent, such as gum arabic or animal glue, to keep the carbon particles in suspension and attached to the paper.

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Iron gall inks were widely used from the early 12th century and were made from tannic acid and iron salt. They were idea to be the best type of ink, but iron gall ink is corrosive and damages the paper it is on.

Colour ordinarily came from natural substances such as blue from wood, yellow from saffron or turmeric, scarlet red from cochineal derived from an Arabian insect called the Kermez and Tyrian purple was the juice of the Purpurea, a shell-fish.

With the commercial revolution early in the nineteenth century the amelioration of artificial chemical substances occurred. The artificial dye for the colour mauve was discovered, by William Henry Perkins, when he was searching for a cure for malaria. Because this dye could be added to ink, it became commercially important. Over the next fifty years, the amount of discoveries of artificial dyes was to increase, work that was dominated by the Germans.

The advent of the personal computers and home printers revolutionised the history of ink and its development. Once the technology of the printer changed from dot matrix, where characters are impact printed, to inkjet, where the ink is sprayed onto the paper, the chemical composition of ink became more sophisticated.

Inkjet inks are both water and solvent based. The primary pigments inks clogged until an efficient detergent, which acted as a dispersant was added. For efficient printing on contemporary printers and copiers the inks need to be in droplets selfsame in size, not clogging the printer head, of high optic density and quick drying. Water-soluble inks are more common, as they are used for the smaller inkjet printers.

Ink is now a complicated mix with four main constituents; colorants, vehicles (binders), additives and carrier substances. Ingredients comprise water (50 to 90 percent), colorant (1 to 15 percent), humectants such as alcohol or glycol (2 to 20 percent), fixatives (0 to 10 percent), surfactants (0.1 to 6 percent), resins (0.2 to 10 percent), biocides (0.02 to 0.4 percent), fungicides (0.01 to 0.4 per cent) and buffer agents (0.05 to 1 percent).

As the costs of raw materials has risen sharply in the last couple of years, inks have become much more high-priced and often population look for a economy alternative than the rights brands recommended for home and office printing machines.

However, explore carried out by a familiar victualer of computer tool on the economy cartridge refill generic inks found a amount of problems. Some plugged up the printhead nozzles so swiftly and consistently that some tests had to be aborted.

Another brand produced wide blank stripes in print-outs and self-refilling cartridges using a kit was found to be a messy process. The final question the tests identified was ink permanence with many of the generic inks persisting no more than a year.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

Ink Technology Has come to be Much More complicated Since the Early Days of Printing

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